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Saturday, 25 August 2012


So yesterday, the day job had the annual summer party. This being an Olympics year, it was decided to have  a sports day with a twist. I usually like twisted versions, and I enjoyed this one, but there are parts of my body now sulking under the duvet, weakly shaking a fist at me, the HR department, and summer parties in general.

I ended up doing a relay race on a space-hopper. On the bright side, I never fell off it, probably due to the fact that I never grew in height much past the age of 12, and also because I was clutching those blasted ears so hard if it had tilted the wrong way the hopper would probably have exploded, and kept me upright out of fear.

There is also a blessedly blurry memory of me in a 3-legged race, which is another reason my body hates me. Let's just say I was firmly banned from the sack-race by my team-mates and leave at that. There aren't enough disclaimer forms on the planet.

The highlight of the day, and probably the reason I couldn't bend over to put my shoes on this morning, was the inflatable gladiator game.

Said game consists of two inflatable podiums on an inflatable base, a giant padded thingy, and the ability to knock your opponent off the inflatable podium with said thingy.

I had the will. Sad to say, I didn't have the balance.

The instructor (who I assume went home afterwards and swore only to deal with pre-schoolers and never, ever run an event for so-called adults ever again) called for a volunteer to demonstrate.

I was willing. I just wasn't very able.

The base wasn't a problem. Getting onto the podium, which might just be bigger than me, was. Several undignified minutes later, I made it. Then I tried to stand up.


I shook. I quivered. I said several naughty words. Parts of my anatomy moved in ways that defied gravity, and not in ways that Playboy enjoys. (I'm a curvy girl. I have curves in places that other girls don't even have places, and they all moved in opposing directions.)

By this stage most of my colleagues were doubled-up with laughter. I still hadn't been able to stand upright. In fact, I'm pretty sure I resembled a hunch-backed version of Humpty-Dumpty on a vibrator.

Instructor: Keep your knees soft.

Me: They are bloody soft! That's the problem!.

Somebody chucked a safety helmet at me, and I sat down (gratefully) and put it on. Then I rose, in all my wobbling, oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-die glory, and tried to raise the thingy. As phallic objects go, mine was not happy. It drooped. It sagged. It was also heavy enough to tilt me towards the end of the podium.

The instructor prodded me with his own version, which seemed a lot bigger than mine.

"Are you ready?" Prod. "Are you ready?" Prod.

Then he sniggered at me. And prodded again. The podium rippled like the water in a paddling pool, and most of me rippled with it.

There was only one way to make this torture stop before my thighs slapped me around the face.

I dive-tackled the instructor.


He made a very gratifying noise as he flew off of his podium - something like "Grragh-ug" and bounced a few times on the base.

Me (peering over podium): How was that?
Instructor (turning a pretty shade of purple, which clashed with his socks) : unnnngh. Gah.

Since the next two guys couldn't even stand on the podium, and had their battle-match on their knees, I felt slightly vindicated. (For some reason they wouldn't let me back on the game).

I also have the strange feeling that I'm never going to live this one down at work, but hopefully by the time I'm back in the office my body and I will be on speaking terms again. In the meantime, I'm making friends with a lot of heat rub.

J H Sked is the author of WolfSong , Basement Blues , Die Laughing , and Quarter the Moon  and a contributor to Sweet Dreams, all of which are on Amazon as ebooks.